With an increasing number of universities around the world reporting ransomware attacks and the threat showing no signs of going away, clear policies on cybersecurity and training for staff are the best form of defence for the Australian research and education community.
By Louise Schuster, AARNet’s Director, Cyber Security
During our summer break, Los Angeles Valley College in Valley Glen became the latest institution to pay ransom in bitcoins (US$28,000) to extortionists after malware encrypted hundreds of thousands of files held on its servers. In addition to losing data access, important services went down, including the College’s network, email and phone system.
The FBI estimates that victims worldwide paid $1 billion in ransom during 2016, and that the figure could double for this year
In the U.K., nearly two-thirds of universities have had their computer systems held up for ransom by hackers, according to a 2016 report, with some hit by multiple attacks.
Canada has also reported a rise in attacks on universities over the past year.
We would like to acknowledge Nick Ellsmore from Hivint for assisting with developing this advice.
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